How does Painkiller end? Netflix has done it again, dropping a new and super intriguing series about the Opioid crisis. Showing a fictionalized telling of true events, Painkiller is a brutal reminder of how greed and profits can literally kill. But how does the new show end?
Painkiller is hands down one of the best TV series to watch this year as it unpacks the dark legacy of Purdue Pharma and OxyContin. Releasing all six of its episodes on Netflix in August 2023, it’s packed with heartbreak, outrage, and drama. But with four main characters, time skips, and unresolved storylines, you may be wondering what happens once credits begin to roll on this Netflix series.
Well, worry not! Here is our Painkiller ending explained breakdown, where we go over the last episode in the series, take a look at the main character’s fates and investigate if we can expect a season 2 or spin-off series anytime soon.
How does Painkiller end?
Season 1 of Painkiller ends with a cliffhanger as the fate of Glen is left unclear after an overdose. If that wasn’t sad enough, the Netflix show continues to show us the brutal reality of corruption as Richard Sackler and Purdue escape the law for years, and once they finally receive justice, a title card pops up on our small screens, reminding us that the opioid crisis is still far from over.
That may sound like a lot, so let me explain. As mentioned above, Painkiller tells the story of how OxyContin fueled the drug crisis in the US thanks to companies focusing on profits and pushing doctors to up dosages in their patients regardless of side effects. This leads to some individuals like Glen becoming addicted.
Throughout the series, Glen has been through hell. He became an addict, lost his family, and after he was sober for a time, unfortunately, fell off the wagon and overdosed. We never see if Glen dies or not, but it’s safe to presume that he passes away.
His situation is also a stark reminder of how dangerous OxyContin can be and the lack of morals Purdue has as a company. This brings us back to the case of Purdue and Edie Flowers. Edie’s case against the company is essentially blocked, as corruption runs rampant and Purdue escapes justice.
In the end, Purdue is free to continue making and selling OxyContin. Seeing how even her boss was involved in this shady deal, Edie left her job as an investigator for the US Attorney’s office. After seeing how Purdue’s power and influence could bend justice, she decides to leave everything behind, choosing to reconcile with her brother, who is now out of prison.
Still with us? Good, because there’s now a time skip to 2019. A title card tells us that Purdue has filed for bankruptcy. That’s right: you can’t keep all your skeletons in the closet forever. Richard Sackler and Purdue did end up cornered by the prosecution eventually and paid a $6 billion settlement. It’s a small victory, but our hopes are then wiped out with a title card at the end of the final episode.
It turns out that despite everything, the Sackler family never owned up to their responsibility in the crisis and has never been charged with any of the deaths, either. They are also still billionaires despite the companies’ bankruptcy, so really, justice hasn’t fully been served at all.
Will there be a Painkiller season 2?
It’s unlikely that there will be a Painkiller season 2. While Glenn’s fate is left ambiguous, the series’ time skip does suggest that the entire story is over.
But if the series is popular, who knows, we may get some form of a follow-up. Hulu’s 2022 Dopesick series, which dealt with similar themes, was a hit. If Painkiller has the same level of success, we are sure that Netflix will be keen to ride the train as much as they can. We will be sure to keep you updated as more details head our way.